THE announcement that fire inspectors have branded the Stradey Park Hotel as unsafe for anyone to stay there has been given a cautious welcome by campaigners bidding to stop the site being used to house asylum seekers.
Members of the Furnace Action Committee, the group of volunteers set up to oppose the plan to house asylum seekers at the four-star hotel and spa, said they would continue to vigorously oppose the plans.
Furnace Action Committee spokesman Robert Lloyd said: “Obviously, the news that the fire service has put a prohibition order on the hotel is a step in the right direction.
“But we have, from recent experience, learned to be vigilant during twists and turns in the hotel saga.
“We will not lower our guard and will continue to oppose the asylum seekers plan for the hotel with the utmost vigour.
“As a committee, we warned at the start of June that proper due diligence had not been carried out on the site. We have said all along that the unique nature of the site (surrounded by residential buildings and with issues over land access and rights of way to the main road) would render the hotel totally unsuitable for the asylum seekers plan.
“We argued all along that proper risk assessment and other safety investigations had not been carried out.
“There is some vindication in the fact that inspectors from Mid and West Wales Fire Service have now issued a prohibition notice on the hotel.
“This prohibition notice does allow the hotel owners to carry out remedial works, so we remain vigilant as to what the next move will be.
“Throughout the last four months, we have tried to have a meaningful dialogue with the hotel owners, Gryphon Leisure Ltd and their parent company Sterling Woodrow, and tender operators Clearsprings Ready Homes.
“They refuse to speak to enter into a conversation about the future of the hotel.
“Our fervent wish now is that they realise the game is over for the Stradey Park Hotel to be used to house asylum seekers.
“They should at least try and make a dignified exit from proceeding with the plan and allow the hotel to resume life as one of the key pillars of the tourism industry in Llanelli and Carmarthenshire.”
Mr Lloyd added: “At the outset, we pointed the finger of blame firmly at the Home Office in London.
“Our suspicion now is that they have never been given a full appraisal of what’s been happening on the ground at the Stradey Park Hotel.
“This plan was hatched by Gryphon Leisure Ltd and Clearsprings Ready Homes, who operated the asylum seeker accommodation tender on behalf of the Home Office.
“We suspect that someone has been economical with the truth in giving the true picture about the unsuitability of the site to the Home Office. The Home Office has, to some extent, been hoodwinked and has not appreciated the problems at the Stradey Park Hotel.
“For that reason, we ask for an urgent intervention by Home Secretary Suella Braverman and the minister responsible for housing asylum seekers, Robert Jenrick.
“For everyone’s sake, please, Ministers, step in and scrap this barmy plan to house asylum seekers at the Stradey Park Hotel.”